Calling it "value engineering", the Qatari government and its leading engineering university are using 3d printed models to perfect airflow and temperature issues ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Doha.
“It is a scale model and follows exactly the design of the proposed stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup," said Dr. Saud Abdul Aziz Abdu Ghani, Professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University. "We printed the parts of the stadium separately, put them together and then put the 3D printed stadium model into a wind tunnel for aerodynamics testing. The wind tunnel took seven months to design and build and is the first of its kind in the region.”
The preeminent soccer tournament in the world that year has been moved from its normal summertime schedule to November and December, in order to mitigate risk from the average daily temperatures of 100 degrees in Doha during June and July. Thus, airflow and temperature inside the stadium are of primary importance to the Qatari government as they prepare to be the first Arab nation to host the World Cup.
"We can see the temperature per tier, add in variants such as sweat produced and amount of spectators, and then run the simulation and see the effect on the temperature inside the stadium,” the professor added. “For the cooling we want a minimal amount of air to go in, and we want the air inside to stay there. We can change the direction and simulate different wind directions at this facility.”
Dr. Ghani believes that 3d printing test structures will become invaluable to others designing large stadiums around the world, and is proud to be doing this work in Qatar instead of farming it out to other nations.
“I believe this is the future of the stadium design industry. Testing used to be done on clay models, but this technology is now at the forefront of stadium design and is also being used for high-rise buildings in Qatar instead of sending them for aerodynamics testing in Canada or Germany as was previously done. You can print anything from cars to skulls for reconstructive surgery, using different materials including metal, titanium, and aluminum.”